Towson University Builds Clinical Curriculum Through Virtual Simulation

“We see simulation—or approximations of practice—work as part of the trajectory of getting our preservice teachers ready to work with real students in classrooms,” said Laila Richman, associate dean of the College of Education at Towson. “We think about this as the first phase of a university-based clinical curriculum that moves them towards being able to work with students.”

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Join a National Conversation on University Principal Preparation Redesign

AACTE invites you to view a livestreamed panel discussion on preliminary findings from The Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) at 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. Register here.

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Promote Your AACTE State Chapter’s Activities

AACTE has an active network of state chapters across the country, and would like to help promote what’s happening in your local chapter through its communication channels. Is your state chapter providing activities to share best practices, engage on solutions to challenges, or advance professional skills? If yes, then please share your event details with AACTE!

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New Webinar Helps Principals Prepare for the Complexity of the Work

Strong leadership is a necessary catalyst for student learning, yet the complexity of the work makes it sometimes hard to focus on the role of instructional leader. AACTE will host a free webinar, Supporting Novice Principals on the Job: Principal Preparation for the Complexity of the Work on Wednesday, December 12, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST.

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Choose from Hundreds of Sessions at 2019 Annual Meeting

Check out the initial lineup of sessions and presenters for the 2019 Annual Meeting, now available through the online AACTE Event Planner!

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Doctoral Students Receive Jane West SPARK Award for Policy Work on Special Education

Congratulations to Ashley L. White and Cassandra B. Willis (pictured left to right) for receiving the 2018 Jane West SPARK Award at the Teacher Education Division (TED) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) conference in November. The award, established in 2016, is given annually to individuals who advocate for special education in teacher preparation (e.g., government relations, letter writing, visits to Congressional members), and is committed to continuing this work in the future.

Ashley L. White
A doctoral student at the University of South Florida (USF), White received a 2015 doctoral fellowship for the Special Education Policy Studies, a grant specifically designed to prepare doctoral scholars as leaders in the field of special education policy. The following year, she was accepted to the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education’s (HECSE) Doctoral Short Course. HECSE is an organization that advocates for the “appropriate educational opportunities and effective school outcomes for millions of American children and youth with disabilities.” Since becoming involved in HECSE, her advocacy activities have included interning at the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) where she engaged in policy matters including but not limited to regulatory reforms, ED/OSEP grant priorities, and engagement with advocacy organizations. White also served as an HECSE intern, with responsibilities that included connecting faculty at USF with HECSE committees, distributing USF documents to its Congressional representatives, and arranging Hill visits for university faculty as well as all of HECSE’s Florida members.

AACTE at the Table for Higher Education Negotiated Rulemaking

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is moving forward with negotiated rulemaking around a large number of issues dealing with federal student financial aid in the Higher Education Act, commonly known as “Title IV,” and AACTE will be at the table. Last fall, the Department put out a call for nominations for negotiators to be part of a full committee and three subcommittees, and this week announced the list of negotiators, which includes 18 AACTE member institutions.

The full committee will cover issues around accreditation and innovation, and the subcommittees will advise the full committee on the following issues: faith-based entities, distance learning, and TEACH grants. The first committee and subcommittees sessions will take place next week, January 14–18.

In addition to AACTE member participation, I will be representing the Association and its members on the TEACH grant subcommittee. Negotiators also include a number of AACTE partners. To see the full list of negotiators for the full committee and each of the subcommittees, along with the supporting materials, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.

Would you like to learn more about the law that establishes the processes around negotiated rulemaking? Review the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990, or read a five-page summary of the negotiated rulemaking process.

Call for Proposals to Improve Outcomes for Students in Higher Education

The U.S. Department of Education Office (USDOE) of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, recently published a funding opportunity geared to help improve the outcomes of postsecondary students, specifically underrepresented students. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) has issued a Funding Announcement and Request for Proposals on “Building Rigorous Evidence about How to Improve Postsecondary Success.

According to the USDOE newsletter, “LJAF is interested in funding research and evaluation projects testing interventions related to postsecondary success (including student learning, persistence, completion, time to completion, job placement, and post-college earnings). They are particularly interested in interventions that promise to improve success among underserved students, such as low-income students, students of color, adult students, and veterans. LJAF has committed up to $10 million for these grants.”

Letters of Interest are due by January 31, 2019.

(Please note: AACTE is sharing this opportunity; it is not an endorsement of the foundation or its work.)

To stay abreast of other funding opportunities and updates, subscribe to the USDOE newsletters.

AACTE Board Election Results

Congratulations to the following individuals who will join the AACTE Board of Directors effective March 1, 2019.

Patricia Alvarez-McHatton, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Representative


Jennie Carr, Bridgewater College (VA)
Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education Representative


Educators hope that ‘Year of the Teacher’ could be first of many

This article and photo originally appeared on Cronkite News and is reprinted with permission. 

A record 1,800 teachers were on ballots across the country this fall, and the National Education Association estimates that as many as 1,100 of them won their races. 

Not a perfect score, but good enough for educators to boast that what they have been calling the Year of the Teacher could be just the first of many such years. 

“Educators stepped out of their classrooms and into the public realm to run for the legislature and they did it fearlessly, and they did it in a way that made all us proud of them,” said Joe Thomas, Arizona Education Association president.

Learning First Alliance Issues Joint Statement on Federal School Safety Commission

AACTE and fellow members of the Learning First Alliance issued a joint statement on December 19, 2018 that emphasizes the Federal School Safety Commission should help schools provide mental health resources to prevent violence. LFA members said the federal government should focus its next steps on resources and training more mental health specialists to ensure safety of students and school staff:

A new federal report misses a high-profile opportunity to bring leadership and resources to social-emotional and mental health needs in K-12 schools, the Learning First Alliance, a coalition of 12 major national education organizations that represents 10 million parents, teachers, administrators, school counselors, specialists, teacher educators, and school board members, stated in response to recommendations by the federal Commission on School Safety, led by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Simply talking about the need for something to be done without creating the ability for schools to have the tools to reach more students in need avoids a core responsibility.

AACTE Response to the Federal School Safety Commission Report

AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement on December 20, 2018 regarding the latest Federal School Safety Commission report:

On December 18, 2018, the Federal School Safety Commission released its final report, outlining the background of its work and providing recommendations for action across three broad areas: 1) prevent, 2) protect and mitigate, and 3) respond and recover. While AACTE appreciates the effort of the current Administration to explore the critical issue of school safety, the report raises significant concerns and poses further questions.

The Commission’s report talks about the social-emotional and mental health needs of our K-12 students; however, it does not address capacity building for schools to have the tools to reach more students. The recommendation to rescind the current guidance on school discipline, created to combat the disproportionate suspension and expulsion of students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ youth, is also highly problematic and contrary to our Association’s values of equity and inclusion. AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone testified before the Commission and joined others in strongly discouraging the use of federal funds to arm teachers as a solution to ensure school safety, yet the report does not eliminate the option of training and arming school personnel with firearms.

AACTE Strategic Planning Process Update

In our last blog, we invited you to contribute to the strategic planning process by reacting to a draft of the plan that outlined the vision, mission, strategic priorities and core values of our Association. Thanks to all of you who provided your insights. In today’s update, we’ll share some of what we heard and how we plan to incorporate your ideas going forward.

In addition to providing concrete feedback on the draft text, many of you also asked for a plan that is more forward-thinking and that outlines how AACTE can help shape the future as well as navigate the challenges and opportunities that it presents. For example, how will trends such as competency-based and technology-enabled instruction influence both the daily work of the educators we prepare and our own programs?  How can we best confront the teacher shortage in partnership with PK-12 leaders and state policy makers, while also ensuring the quality of the education workforce?  What more can we and the same partners do to ensure that the profession is diverse and that educators are prepared to effectively instruct all learners?

Webinar Series on Principal Preparation Wrap Up

AACTE hosted its final webinar of this year’s series on principal preparation sponsored by The Wallace Foundation on Wednesday, December 12. As co-hosts, we discussed “Principal Preparation for the Complexity of the Work” with invited guests: Dr. Traci Gile, a principal at Lopez Elementary in Fort Collins, Colorado, Travis Hargreaves, an assistant principal at Cherry Creek Academy in Denver, Colorado, and Donald Kotnik, an assistant principal at Mountain View High School in Loveland, Colorado. Presenters discussed how Colorado State University’s (CSU) School Leadership Institute helped bridge their preparation program to practice for participants.

The Institute consists of two retreats for CSU graduates who are currently in their first few years of school leadership. Institute fellows on the panel shared how their involvement not only improved their practice as leaders, but offered a desperately needed support network for a job that is often isolating. Presenters also shared the importance of contributing to the ongoing research project associated with the Institute and communicating the challenges of the profession through focus groups. This research, and their voices in the focus groups, will not only impact current preparation programs, but also the larger professional community.

Call for Proposals: Holmes Scholars Dissertation Funding Competition

AACTE, the 2018 Holmes Council, and the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) invite current doctoral-level Holmes Scholars to submit a proposal for the 2019 AACTE Holmes Scholars Dissertation Funding Competition (DFC). The competition will take place 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 22, during the Holmes Preconference Meeting at the Louisville Marriott Downtown in Louisville, KY.

The purpose of the DFC is to defray expenses of a Holmes Scholar’s doctoral research project. This funding competition helps take Holmes Scholars to the next level and provides a collegial and competitive space. This experience is designed to enhance Scholars’ competitiveness as they prepare to enter the job market.

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